Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton got straight to the point after taking the presidential debate stage Sunday night -- the Republican calling her a "devil" and the Democrat saying her opponent owes all Americans an apology for a campaign driven by insulting, degrading comments about women, African-Americans and others.
The debate, coming little more than 48 hours after the release of a recording in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women, caps off a weekend that saw senior Republican elected officials, including Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and John Thune, rescind their support for Trump. Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump’s own running mate, Mike Pence, condemned the remarks.
But Trump remained defiant. After stating he will never drop out of the race, and slamming Republican defectors, he has sought to focus on accusations of sexual assault levied at Bill Clinton, who is not running for president.
The town hall style debate is moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Here are the most interesting moments.
Right from the start, the disdain the two nominees have for each other was apparent. As they entered the debate hall to applause, Clinton and Trump did not shake hands. Clinton merely nodded at Trump, who slowed when it became clear that she would not be extending her hand. Then they simply stood, somewhat awkwardly, a few feet apart, as the crowd applauded.
Trump: From sexual assault to ISIS
When Trump was pressed by Anderson Cooper if he had actually done the things he claimed to do in a recently leaked audio — like groping women’s genitals without their consent — Trump responded: “No, I have not.”
The declaration came after Trump initially denied having said that he had demonstrated such behavior.
“No, I didn’t say that at all,” Trump said in response to Cooper’s question about the tape. “This was locker room talk.”
“This is locker room talk,” Trump repeated over and over.
He then began to list atrocities committed by ISIS, such as beheadings. He then pivoted back to the tape.
“Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it, I hate it, but it’s locker room talk,” Trump said. “I will knock the hell out of ISIS.”
Clinton responds to the video
“I spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw,” Clinton said in response to Trump’s comments. “You know, with prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on politics, policies and principals, but I never quiet their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different.”
Trump’s comments, Clinton went on, “represent who he is.”
She then went on to note other groups Trump has targeted with vitriol.
“It's not only women,” Trump said. “Because he has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, Muslims and so many others. So this is who Donald Trump is.”
Trump lays Bill’s alleged behavior at Clinton’s feet
It did not take Trump long to invoke allegations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton, who is not running for president.
“Never anyone in the history of politics in the nation that has been so abusive to women,” Trump said of Bill Clinton. “Bill Clinton was abusive to women.”
“Hillary Clinton attacked those same women viciously, four of them here tonight,” Trump said. Trump invited four women to attend, including three who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The other was raped when she was 12 years-old by a man who was defended in court by a young Hillary Clinton.
“I think it's disgraceful and she should be ashamed of herself if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.
Clinton: It's about Trump, not Bill
Clinton ignored Trump’s broadsides against her husband, who is not a candidate for president.
“First let me start by saying that so much of what he just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses,” Clinton said. “He gets to decide what he wants to talk about instead of answering people's questions and laying out the plans that we think can make a better and a better country. That's his choice. When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all. When they go low, you go high.”
She went on to say that Trump never apologizes, including for his lie about the president’s birthplace.
Trump: Clinton is “the devil”
Trump shot back that Clinton is the one who should apologize for the birther lie, and then stated that Michelle Obama is not actually Clinton’s friend.
He said Barack Obama beat Clinton fairly in the 2008 Democratic primary, but that Clinton won by cheating during the primary in 2016. He then said he was surprised that Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s 2016 opponent, supported “the devil.”
Trump: I will appoint a special prosecutor to go after you if I win
If Trump is elected, he said, he will appoint a special prosecutor with the aim of putting Clinton in prison for her actions related to keeping a private email server during her time as secretary of state. The use of the server was investigated by the FBI, which decided not to press charges.
“I didn't know I would say this, but I'm going to and I hate to say it,” Trump said. “If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. There has never been so many lies, so much exception. There has never been anything like it. We will have a special prosecutor.”
“You should be ashamed,” Trump repeated.
Clinton called Trump’s accusations “absolutely false.”
“It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.
Trump fired back: "Because you would be in jail.”
Trump: Muslim ban has “morphed”
Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States has “morphed into extreme vetting from certain areas of the world,” Trump said when pressed about the proposal.
“It’s called extreme vetting,” Trump repeated, when pressed by Raddatz about whether the so-called Muslim ban had been lifted.
The declaration came after a sharp exchange about the treatment of Muslims in the United States.
“How will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled a threat to the country after the election is over?” an audience member, who said she is a Muslim, asked the candidates.
Islamaphobia, Trump said, “is a shame.” But he went on to say that “there is a problem” and that people should stop being so “politically correct."
Muslims, he went on to say, need to report the planning of terrorist acts.
“We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on,” Trump said. “When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.”
Trump then hit Clinton for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“We are not at war with Islam,” Clinton said. “And it is a mistake and it plays in to the hands of terrorists to act like we are.”